August 26, 2017

Apple External Keyboard Stopped Working

This week my Apple External Keyboard just stopped working for no reason. I have a MacBook Pro connected to a Thunderbolt display. All of a sudden the keyboard just stopped working.

  • I removed the USB end from the display and reconnected it, no such luck.
  • I plugged the keyboard directly into the computer, restarted - no keyboard was found.
  • The Apple Keyboard didn't even show up in the System Information.
  • The caps lock key never lit up.

How did I get it to work?

I read various Apple forums from other customers having the same issue. The "easy" solution was to connect the keyboard to a USB hub. I simply connected my USB Mighty Man hub to the computer and then the Keyboard USB to the hub. That worked!

Keyboard Solution
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Seems like a weird solution. But the advice on Apple.stackexchanged.com worked!

I am wondering if my Optical Gaming Mouse that is connected to the Thunderbolt display is draining out the USB power. Although it doesn't explain why connecting the keyboard directly to the computer didn't work.

The USB Gaming Mouse (Holtek Semiconductor) has a current required 100 (mA), where as the Apple Keyboard has a current required on 20 (mA).

U S B Man Hub
USB Hub Man to the Rescue

In any case, not sure why all of a sudden this started happening. I have been using the Keyboard/Mouse/Thunderbolt connection for about 6 months now with no problems. The system is running macOS Sierra version 10.12.6 with the update installed 17 days ago.

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